What Should I Consider When Choosing a Massage Class?

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  • Written By: Brendan McGuigan
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 17 July 2019
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Massage encompasses a wide range of styles, all with the basic intent of helping the body through working various soft tissues. Some massage styles focus on steady pressure, others on movement and stretching, and still others on heat or vibration. The type of massage you want to study is an important consideration when you choose a massage class, and it makes sense to have at least a broad idea of what style you wish to pursue.

Some styles of massage, such as deep-tissue massage and Thai massage, are offered by an entire gambit of schools with a range of tuition prices, some better than others. Other styles, such as the Esalen style, originated in a particular school, and these schools continue to offer a massage class or series of classes focusing on that style. If your interests lie in one of these specific styles of massage, choosing the right massage class is as simple as finding the school at which the style originated and checking their availability.


The sort of work you want to do with your training is another big part of choosing a massage class or school. If you are planning on doing general therapeutic work, you will most likely choose to attend a different school than if you want to work with athletes in a more physical therapy focused way. This is not to say that a school that focuses on general therapeutic work won’t offer a massage class in physical therapy, but simply that the focus of the overall program will most likely differ.

The distance you are willing to travel to attend a massage class will also play a role in determining where you want to study. If you want to attend massage class on the weekends or in the evenings while continuing your normal life, you will probably limit your search to a very local area, which may limit the sorts of massage class you can take. If, on the other hand, you are treating your massage training as a submersion experience and can relocate to attend a school, you can cast your net further and look at schools around the country and throughout the world.

To begin with, try looking online at the websites of various massage schools and directories, or talk to masseuses in your area who have styles you like. Find out where they took their massage classes and what they have to say about their schools. Write to the schools and request brochures, then make a list of the schools that look interesting to you. Travel to your top picks, get a feel for the philosophy of each school and the level of training the faculty have, and see if you can sit in briefly on a massage class to see how the teaching style works.

Make sure to find out about the sort of accreditation the school offering your massage class has. In the United States, the Department of Education has recognized a number of certification bodies, each with a different focus in their certification. Some schools may be certified to teach occupational massage therapy, others may focus more on teaching teachers, and still others may approach massage from a physical therapy perspective. If you plan on working in the field later, having a certification from an accredited school is very important, so make sure the schools you are looking at have the proper credentials.

Lastly, take into consideration how much you are willing to spend on a massage class or a series of classes. A single class can be quite affordable, depending on how long it lasts, and becoming accredited — which usually requires between 600 and 1,200 hours of training — can cost anywhere from 1,000 US dollars (USD) to around 10,000 USD. The larger massage institutes usually offer scholarships of some sort, and seeing whether these are available may further influence your decision.



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